On Wednesday afternoon, I flew from Chicago, Illinois to Peoria, Illinois for work. I had never been there before. As we flew in, I looked out of the plane window seeing lots of farm land and a small city. I was curious what this town would be like.
I could tell that the airport was small. As we exited the plane, I observed that there were not many people roaming around. The luggage area was small compared to other airports that I have been at.
After getting my luggage, I called the hotel to come pick me up. I waited in doors as it was 15 degrees outside. A little chilly.
Within 15 minutes the driver was there to pick me up. He was a jovial man. I was cold and ready to get into the van. The driver jokingly said " that today is warm compared to what the temperatures normally are". In February, the temperatures are normally in the single digits.
We drove through the historical area. The homes set back from the streets and were large and had nice big porches wrapped around the homes. He told me that the majority of these home were from the late 1800's. People have gone into this area and have updated nearly all of these older homes.
Peoria is one of the oldest settlements in Illinois. Explorers had ventured up the Illinois River from the Mississippi River. This area was first settled in 1680 by French explorers. Peoria was named after the Peoria tribe.
After driving through the historical area, the driver took me by the Caterpillar Headquarters. Just this week, Caterpillar announced that they would be relocating there headquarters to Chicago, which is about 170 miles, northeast of Peoria.
After hearing the news, I wonder how the city of 120,000 will manage to survive with the headquarters of Caterpillar leaving?
Just being in the city for about three days, I left feeling that I had experienced the true Midwest of the U.S. The people were extremely helpful and they love their city. A lot of young people have moved to Peoria from very small towns(with population of 2,500 to 3,000). To these people, Peoria was a big city.
Small cities are nice in that you don't have a lot of traffic; you can drive from one end of the city to the other end within 30 minutes; everyone knows each other and everybody is willing to assist you.